I belong HERE so do you

I am sure all of us have had a moment in our past, probably as a child or teen where we didn't fit in. A time when we didn't belong. A moment or a season when we were not accepted. And if we can be honest about that time, that moment, that season, it damage our perception of the world around us. As adults we can sometimes feel or pretend that our perception hasn't changed and that being excluded that one time long ago has no affect on us but we can be wrong.
Exclude verb ex·clude | \ ik-ˈsklüd  \
a: to prevent or restrict the entrance of
b: to bar from participation, consideration, or inclusion
As adults exclusivity can seep into different areas of our lives. From groups at work, at schools, in neighborhoods, and yes even the beloved church. Our society has can be cruel to those who "don't fit in". In certain religions, cultures, and regions, those who don't fit in are publicly excluded. It's sad, hurtful, and I know it grieves the Holy Spirit.
We all belong here...
The absolutely most beautiful thing about this earth is our differences. Diversity is needed and it is a part of God's plan. Yet we've have allowed other opinions to override our Father's design. In His word He says we are His masterpieces, that we are wonderfully made, and that we are His. He didn't make a mistake with you. He didn't accidentally make you too small, too dark, too loud, too hairy, too thin, too ANYTHING. We are all unique reflections of Him.
You belong here....

A month ago I attended a retreat where my two friends spoke to the audience about their history, their struggles and their relationship with God. Both of the women sat on the "stage" together, connected. The amazing thing about this moment was that these women were almost complete opposites! Their backgrounds, culture, and even present positions in life were different. Yet they both belong right where they were. In a society that is trying to divide  and exclude people, these women sat together confident in who they were. They knew they belonged.

I belong here....
The kingdom of God is a diverse kingdom. There is a place for all of us. We are accepted in the beloved. It is our differences that make us unique. It is our history, our stories that bring life color. It is our individuality that brings God glory.
Be encouraged today and know that I belong here and so do you!

-Patrice

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